John Newby column: Keep Virginia’s life sciences innovation economy strong
Citizens across Virginia need health solutions and affordable health care to live full, healthy and productive lives. Lawmakers in the General Assembly are examining a broad range of policies in an attempt to relieve the burden of rising health care costs. But some of the proposals under consideration might have unintended consequences for both patients and Virginia’s innovation economy. As our elected officials consider how to address health care costs, they should ensure that any measure provides meaningful financial relief to patients and preserves the environment for medical innovation in Virginia that delivers groundbreaking treatments and creates thousands of high-paying jobs in the commonwealth.
Virginia has long been at the forefront of medical and biotechnological innovation. Our state’s world-class colleges and universities are engaged in cutting-edge research that is driving lifesaving medical treatments. The 1,800 life sciences companies across the commonwealth bring new, life-changing drugs, medical devices and diagnostics to market and are an economic engine for Virginia — with the life sciences industry employing more than 26,000 Virginians and contributing more than $8 billion to the state’s economy.
The booming innovation economy in Virginia was not created by happenstance. Lawmakers in Richmond have taken steps to ensure that our biotechnology industry flourishes and drives prosperity for thousands of Virginians. The state offers grants and incentives that support innovation and growth — and they are working. Virginia’s life sciences sector is growing faster than the national average, and is expanding in every region of the commonwealth.
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